Denying the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist


When and where did the first major disagreement on the Eucharist being the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus first arise? I’m assuming sometime during the reformation. Correct me if I’m wrong, but although Lutheranism does not teach transubstantiation they don’t they at least hold that the Eucharist is not completely symbolic? Who first started teaching that it was just a symbol and on what grounds? Seems like a very difficult thing to disprove, especially with the writings of the Church Fathers.


it was


John Scotus Eriugena in the 9th century proposed it as figurative and his error was condemned at some local councils. Berengarius of Tours, influenced by the former’s writings, resurrected it in the 11th century and again the error was condemned locally. That was pretty much it until the Reformation.


In his letter to the Church at Smyrna, chapter 7, written about the year 107, St Ignatius of Antioch talks about some who don’t believe that the Eucharist Is the flesh of Jesus Christ:

They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. (source)


My spouse is a Lutheran pastor. The basic belief is Consubstantiation, basically that Christ and the bread coexist. So no, definitely not symbolic and about as close as you are going to get to Catholic teachings.


Wow, that’s pretty early! Some who saw Christ might still have been living. It’s good evidence that the teaching of the Catholic faith on the real presence was indeed present in the first one hundre years of the Church.


In the Gospel of John, chapter 6. Many of Jesus’ followers left when He revealed this teaching.


Actually, the early Church did struggle with whether Christ was truly present in the Eucharist or not; however, it was primarily those who believed in an extreme dualism that rejected the bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist because they believed that matter was evil, so Christ never came in the flesh (docetics). With regard to Lutheranism, we don’t hold to transubstantiation because this explanation of the Eucharist tries to fill in the gaps where the Bible is silent, essentially using Aristotelian logic to explain how the body and blood are present even though we see and taste the bread and wine. Luther held that when we receive the bread and the wine (the Bible frequently speaks of the participation in the Eucharist as breaking bread and sharing the cup, etc.) we also receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ in, with, and under the bread. This is basically shorthand for maintaining the mystery of the Eucharist and just accepting it by faith. Hope that helps explain.


Yet, you believe in the philosophical language of the Dogma of the Trinity. Does not the metaphysical wording of this core dogma fill in the gaps where the Bible is silent? You believe the Son is consubstantial with the Father - that is Aristotelian logic, and that specific language is not found in the Bible.


It’s the chapter that got me thinking the Catholic Church was right about a lot of things. :+1:


To an extent. The Bible says there is one God. It explicitly calls the Father God, the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God. Therefore, I take it at its word, and while the Nicene creed does a somewhat clumsy job trying to describe this, we take it at face value that all three persons are fully God and yet there is one God. So yeah, I am comfortable with that because scripture teaches the same. And contrary to your point, the argument for the specific language used in the Nicene creed is less Aristotelian logic, than using legal terms of the day to indicate that whatever divinity is, the three persons of the trinity are an equal partnership in the one divinity. Agree the language is unbiblical but the teaching is not.

With regard to the Eucharist however, the Bible is in fact silent other than to demonstrate that we participate in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup, but also that this is my body and blood. How that happens or whether we receive the body and blood versus the body and blood and bread and wine is not taught in scripture.

Hence there is a fundamental difference. One helps to describe a teaching already present, while the other tries to fill the gaps where the text of the Bible doesn’t require us to do so. Quite frankly, to insist on an explanation that isn’t provided in scripture is schismatic on the part of the person drawing the unscriptural line in the sand that others must follow. General rule of thumb for dogmatics, you draw the lines of orthodoxy no more strictly than scripture supports, which is actually what the early Church did in relation to the issues of Christology.


Ah, we have some hope! :innocent: Are you suggesting the same is true for transubstantiation merely because philosophical language is used.


It would behoove you to read an entire post before typing a response. Since you cannot be troubled to read an explanation, I will simply respond with no.


Transubstantiation does not attempt to describe the ‘[h]ow’, but the ‘what’.

Let me guess; Sacramental Union doesn’t try to fill in the gaps, but is already present in Scripture, yes?


I and many others would disagree with this explanation.


The Bible is not silent on this. In John 6: 51-56, Jesus is pretty explicit about this. He repeats about 5 times that his flesh is food and tells us that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we will not have life in us. At no point does he say that he is talking about his words, but he repeats to the Jews that his flesh is food and we should eat it. I cannot see how this part of scripture can be interpreted otherwise.


I think you misunderstood my point. I defend the real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.


Fair enough.


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